29 July 2019 – Exactly one year ago today, one of the true Croatian music greats, Oliver Dragojevic, passed away in Split at the age of 70.
Dragojevic lost his one-year battle with lung cancer and passed away in hospital in Split at 5 am on Sunday, 29 July 2018.
Dragojevic enjoyed a career spanning four decades and was considered one of the most iconic musical stars in Croatia and in the Croatian diaspora around the world. He was one of the few to perform at Carnegie Hall (New York), Royal Albert Hall (London), Olympia (Paris) and the Sydney Opera House.
His solo career really began in 1974 at the Split Festival, where he won with the song “Ča će mi Copacabana”. A year later, composer Zdenko Runjić and Dragojević, released the song “Galeb i Ja” which became a huge hit and made him a household name.
He followed it up with a number of other huge hits over the years such as “Cesarica”, “Oprosti Mi, Pape”, “Skalinada”, “Zuto Lisce Ljubavi”, “Nadalina”, and”Piva klapa ispod volta”. His iconic songs are still enjoyed decades later.
Oliver, who left behind wife Vesna and sons Dino, Damir and Davor, was farewelled publicly over two days in Croatia. On 31 July in Split, Oliver was given a huge send-off . The Croatian government declared for the first time in the nation’s history that the day would be a National Day of Condolence and flags all around the country flew at half-mast.
The city, where Oliver spent most of his life living, farewelled the singer with a special commemoration in the morning at the Croatian National Theatre. As well as his family and close friends, the commemoration was attended by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
A large crowd gathered and just before 7 pm, Oliver’s casket left Sv. Frane Church and made its way along the Split Riva. A number of Oliver’s famous hits were sung as he was carried by close friends, including Petar Graso, Doris Dragovic, Goran Karan, Tonci Huljic and 2CELLOS star Stjepan Hauser.
Oliver then departed on catamaran and headed off in the sunset towards Vela Luka on the island of Korcula as a fleet of small boats followed in its trail.
The following day, Oliver was buried in his home town of Vela Luka. There were large queues as people lined up to write in the book of condolences, whilst hundreds of candles were placed in front of Oliver’s house throughout the day.
A free catamaran from Split to Vela Luka was put on so people could could travel to the funeral to pay their respects. Oliver’s songs could be heard as passengers on the full catamaran sang all the way to Vela Luka. 2CELLOS Stjepan Hauser played a tribute in Vela Luka earlier in the day and also played Oliver’s hit ‘Galeb I ja’ at the funeral. Oliver was buried at the Sveti Roko cemetery in Vela Luka.
You can a read a touching tribute to Oliver on the link here.